Ramana Maharshi: The Master of Silent Teaching: By Gabriele Ebert

Editor’s note: Because Gabriele Ebert’s native tongue is German, I had to edit the article. If there are any mistakes in the article, I accept complete responsibility. Please bring any such errors to my attention and these will be corrected right away.

Master and Disciple

The characteristics of a spiritual master is that he leads his disciple toward experience of the eternal truth by way of teaching. In Hinduism this is called upadesa (spiritual teaching, spiritual instruction). But master and disciple have to harmonize with each other, i.e. the master must be able to transmit his teaching whereas the disciple must be ready to grasp it and put it into practice. Otherwise, the relationship of master and disciple will bring no fruit.

In giving instructions to the student, medium of speech normally plays an important role. However, in spiritual instruction and transmission to the prepared student, according to Sri Ramana, speech is not the most potent means. Indeed, the sage of Arunachala is known as the great master of silent teaching.

A visitor said: “Bhagavan says, ‘The influence of the Jnani (Self-Realized one)steals into the devotee in silence.’ Bhagavan also says ‘Contact with great men, exalted souls, is one efficacious means of realising one’s true being.”

Ramana responded: “Contact with them is good. They will work through silence. By speaking, their power is reduced. Silence is most powerful. Speech is always less powerful than silence. So mental contact is the best.”

And on another occasion Ramana pointed out the potency of such teachings outside the verbal medium: “Such mouna [silence] is not inertness but great activity. It is the most powerful speech.”

Silent Teachings – Heart to Heart Instructions

The silence (mouna) Ramana talks about is not just absence of speech. It is when the mind/ego becomes silent, free from thought, and comes to rest in the Self.

If the ego/mind is fully absorbed in the Self, it will not appear anymore and assert itself as a separate identity. Such a one in whom the ego has been fully vanquished is called a Jnani. He will stay in the Self and will no more return to an ego-centered state. The ‘I’ working through him/herself is no more the little ego-I, but the Self of God. In his booklet “Who am I?” Ramana says: “It is this state, where there is not the slightest trace of the ‘I’-thought, that is the true Being of oneself. And that is called Quiescence or Mouna (Silence).”

Only who rests permanently in this silence can also transmit his teaching in silence. The disciple is not yet in this state, but he yearns for it above all. Through the silence of his teacher he is guided into his own heart, the source of the ego, to that ‘place’ from where this impermanent ego-I arises and submerges again.

In the beginning, the disciple will become silent, and enter for a short in the same state in which his master permanently rests. In this state, he finally experiences his own true nature. In this silence he starts to understand the truth. This is the Heart to Heart instruction.

This is a different path than the one of eloquent speeches and lectures of popular swamis and gurus.  This is the direct path of experience. This is the pathless path, and only suitable for mature seekers. Ramana states that for most seekers verbal instruction is needed.

“Silence is the best Upadesa (spiritual teachings), but it is suited only for advanced students. Others are unable to draw full inspiration from it, therefore they need words to explain the Truth. But Truth is beyond words. It does not admit of explanations. Lectures may entertain individuals for a few hours without having an effect upon them, whereas the result of silence is permanent and benefits all. Even though it is not understood, that does not matter. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as silence. It is unceasing eloquence. The primal master Dakshinamurti is the ideal and he taught in silence.”

Ramana and Dakshinamurti

Ramana was often identified with Dakshinamurti, who is the youthful Siva and represents his ascetic aspect. He is considered as the Guru of all Gurus, sitting under a Banyan-tree in silence. The four disciples, who seek his guidance, are “old”, i.e. they are ripe and Dakshinamurti teaches them in silence alone.

Ramana writes in his two verses on Dakshinamurti:

“Who is the youthful guru beneath the banyan tree?

Very old are the pupils who seek him.

The handsome teacher’s speech is silence.

Cleared are all the pupils’ doubts.

Under the wonderful banyan tree shines the youthful

guru. Aged pupils come to him. Silence is this teacher’s

speech. Gone are the doubts in the pupils’ minds.”

The following episode from Sundaresa Iyer’s reminiscences illustrates Ramana’s way of silent teaching:

“It was a Sivaratri Day. The evening worship at the Mother’s shrine was over. The devotees had their dinner with Sri Bhagavan, who was now on His seat, the devotees at His feet sitting around Him.

At 8 p.m. one of the Sadhus stood up, did pranam (offered obeisance), and with folded hands prayed: ‘Today is Sivaratri Day; we should be highly blessed by Sri Bhagavan expounding to us the meaning of the Hymn to Dakshinamurti (stotra).’ Says Bhagavan: ‘Yes, sit down.’

The Sadhu sat, and all eagerly looked at Sri Bhagavan and Sri Bhagavan looked at them. Sri Bhagavan sat and sat in His usual pose, no, poise. No words, no movement, and all was stillness! He sat still, and all sat still, waiting. The clock went on striking, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, one, two and three. Sri Bhagavan sat and they sat. Stillness, calmness, motionlessness – not conscious of the body, of space or time.

Thus eight hours were passed in Peace, in Silence, in Being, as It is. Thus was the Divine Reality taught through the speech of Silence by Bhagavan Sri Ramana-Dakshinamurthi.

At the stroke of 4 a.m. Sri Bhagavan quietly said: ‘And now have you known the essence of Dakshinamurti Hymn?’”

Ramana’s own Spiritual Experience

Ramana’s way of teaching in silence arose from his own spiritual experience. At the age of 16 he suddenly had a kind of death-experience, through which he spontaneously realized the Self.

One day, when he was all alone at home, unexpectedly and without reason an unmistakable fear of death caught hold of Ramana. But instead of seeking help from outside he turned within and asked, who was it, that is going to die and if death of the body means also death of himself. Suddenly the shell of the ego dropped off forever. From then on, he was certain, that in truth he was the Self (Atman, God, the Absolute, or whatever name one might like to give it). His attitude towards the world changed completely. Ramana had become silent in the deepest sense of the word.

Soon after he left his home in Madurai and went to the holy hill Arunachala, which he venerated since childhood. He settled down and stayed there until his death.

In the first few years at Arunachala Ramana was silent and completely absorbed in this truth, which was his inner most and real Being. Withdrawn from the world, Ramana remained in perpetual samadhi while the insects fed on his body. His body was kept alive by a few people who by the grace of God happened to be around and noticed this teenager doing what they believed was intense tapas (spiritual practice).

Ramana did not start teaching of his own accord. If people would not have noticed him and sought his company or advice, he perhaps never would have become known. But the spiritual seekers who came within his orbit felt instintcively that he was a great sage, a rishi, a Maharishi, the One, who was a great seer and who lived the truth and was completely authentic.

Sincere people started to come to Ramana with their questions. The silent Sage answered them, at first only by writing down his answers. But slowly in response to the aspirations of those around, Ramana returned gradually to speech, and using words to teach.

Ramana always emphasized that the highest teaching is transmitted in silence. Ramana never called himself a guru or Maharishi. In His view there were no master and disciples. However, the students who gathered around him were overwhelmed by the brillaint luster and the peaceful radiance of the great sage of Arunachala. Ganapati Muni, one of most powerful intellect and spiritual personalities of the time was the first to call Ramana a Maharishi (Great Seer).

As Ramana adapted to his surroundings, he  gradually became more and more open to talks.  In the Hall, where he could be met days and nights, philosophical topics were vividly discussed. Pundits came with their questions. His followers like Ganapati Muni, were superb adepts of the holy Hindu-scriptures – and the answers which Ramana gave fill many volumes. At times the Hall was also a workshop of artful peotry. Politics and themes of everyday life were discussed as well.

Though Sri Ramana was a master of silent teaching and silence (mouna) is seen as an important means in Hinduism, he dissuaded his devotees from taking a vow of silence. Nevertheless Major Chadwick, one of the Western devotees of Ramana made plans to do so.

This amusing story is found in Major Chadwick’s reminiscences: “During the war I decided that I would like to do so, chiefly to protect myself from the jibes of others. I went and asked Bhagavan’s permission. He was not enthusiastic and told me that it was useless to keep the tongue still but to continue to write messages on bits of paper which so many so-called Maunis (silent ones) continue to do. In this way only the tongue had a rest but the mind continued just as before. I said that I had no intention of doing this but would throw my pencil and paper away. I felt that I had obtained a reluctant consent as Bhagavan agreed that people were worrying me. So I made the necessary arrangements, installed a bell from my room to the kitchen so I should not have to call my servant, and fixed a lucky day to begin.

The night before I was to start, a friend of mine brought up the subject in the Hall after the evening meal when only a few of us were present. Bhagavan immediately showed his disapproval and said it was unnecessary and in fact not a good thing at all. I did not talk much anyhow. It was better to speak only when it was necessary, that it actually did no good to observe silence, that if one did so for twelve years one became dumb and might obtain some thaumaturgic powers, but who wanted them? Speech acted as a safety valve. Naturally after this talk I gave up the idea.”

The Power Of Silent Look (Darshan)

Many people came to be in Ramana’s silent presence, without asking him questions or talk to him. His look was extraordinary intense and penetrating directly into the hearts. The cook Shantamma reports the following example:

“One morning a European came in a horse carriage to the Ashram and went straight to Bhagavan. He wrote something on a piece of paper and showed it to Bhagavan. Bhagavan did not answer; instead he gazed at the stranger with unwinking eyes. The stranger was staring back at him. Then Bhagavan closed his eyes and the stranger also closed his. They stayed without moving. At mealtime the meals were served but Bhagavan would not open his eyes. Madhavaswami, the attendant, got Bhagavan’s water pot and stood ready to lead Bhagavan out of the Hall. Bhagavan would not stir. We felt afraid to go near, such was the intensity around him. His face was glowing with a strange light. The guests in the dining hall were waiting and the food before them was getting cold. Chinnaswami was talking loudly to attract Bhagavan’s attention. Even vessels were banged about, but all in vain. When the clock was striking twelve Bhagavan opened his eyes. They were glowing very brightly. Madhavaswami took up the water jug; the European got into the carriage and went away. It was the last we saw of him. We did not even get his name.”

Silence is the Eternal Stream of Speech

In “Talks” many quotes of the Maharshi can be found, which make clear, that silence is the actual, direct and eternal speech, which flows heart to heart.

“Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words. What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known in a trice in Silence, or in front of Silence – e.g., Dakshinamurti, and his four disciples.

That is the highest and most effective language.”

Elsewhere it is stated: “Silence is never-ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. The silence of Dakshinamurti removed the doubts of the four sages. Mouna vyakhya prakatita tatvam (Truth expounded by silence). Silence is said to be exposition. Silence is so potent.

For vocal speech, organs of speech are necessary and they precede speech. But the other speech lies even beyond thought. It is in short transcendent speech or unspoken word, para vak.”

On 20th July 1936 Ramana had the following talk:

A visitor asked: “What is mouna (silence)?”

M.: “Mouna is not closing the mouth. It is eternal speech.”

D.: “I do not understand.”

M.: “That state wich transcends speech and thought is mouna.”

D.: “How to achieve it?”

M.: “Hold some concept firmly and trace it back. By such concentration silence results. When practice becomes natural it will end in silence. Meditation without mental activity is silence. Subjugation of the mind is meditation. Deep meditation is eternal speech.”

D.: “How will worldly transaction go on if one observes silence?”

M.: “When women walk with water pots on their heads and chat with their companions they remain very careful, their thoughts concentrated on the loads of their heads. Similarly when a sage engages in activities, these do not distrub him because his mind abides in Brahman.”

Major Chadwick reports the following episode: “A gentleman from Kashmir came to the Ashram with his servant who could not speak a word of any other language except his native Kashmiri. One night when the Hall was almost dark except for the pale glimmer of a single hurricane lantern, the servant came into the Hall and stood before Bhagavan in a respectful manner jabbering something rapidly in his own language. Bhagavan said nothing, but lay quietly gazing at him. After a while the servant saluted and left the Hall. Next morning his master came to Bhagavan and complained, ‘Bhagavan, you never told me you could speak Kashmiri, was it fair?’

‘Why, what do you mean?’ asked Bhagavan. ‘I know not a single word of your language.’

Bhagavan aksed the gentleman how he had got hold of this absurd idea and the latter explained: ‘Last night my servant came to you and asked you several questions in his language. He tells me that you answered him in the same language and cleared his doubts.’

‘But I never opened my mouth,’ Bhagavan replied.”

Another story: “When Bhagavan Sri Ramana was staying in the Virupaksha Cave, a District Collector and a Deputy Collector went there for his darshan. After prostrations to Sri Bhagavan, the Collector began to speak, narrating at length all that he had read and done by way of sadhana [spiritual practice], and at the end confessed that in spite of all that, peace was as far from him as ever before. No sooner had he finished than the Deputy Collector started to tell his story and stopped only after saying all that he had to say. These two conversations took quite a long time, but Sri Bhagavan did not interrupt them even once, observing strict silence all throughout.

Seeing that neither of them got any reply from Sri Ramana, the Collector once again delivered a long harangue and stopped only when he was at the end of his resources. Yet not a word passed from the mouth of Sri Ramana. The Collector was a little put out at this, and drawled out: ‘We have been speaking to you since long, but you don’t open your lips at all! Will you please tell us something at least?”

Then, Sri Bhagavan spoke: ‘All the while I have been speaking in my own language. What can I do when you won’t listen to it?’

The Collector was intelligent and he caught the meaning of Sri Ramana’s cryptical reply. He was overpowered with devotion and fell down at the feet of Sri Bhagavan, chanting the following (Sanskrit) verse: ‘Strange (sight) under the banyan tree! The disciples are all old and the Guru is youthful; he expounds (the Truth) in Silence and the disciples are freed from doubts!’

Then both of them sat before Sri Bhagavan in silent meditation. They got the peace they were in search of and departed fully satisfied at the outcome of their visit.”

Silence and Inspiration

This silence of the Heart is no dead silence, but also the source of all inspiration. Sri Ramana inspired Ganapati Muni in his writing of the last part of his major poem ‘Uma Sahasram’ just by silently sitting with him. Sundaresa Iyer reports the story in detail:

“Sri Kavyakanta [Ganapati Muni] had composed 700 stanzas of Uma in some thirty different meters, and had announced to his devotees in various parts of the country that this poem would be dedicated on a certain Friday in the Shrine of Sri Uma in the great Temple of Sri Arunachaleswara. Over a hundered persons gathered at the Pachaiamman Temple so as to be present on the occasion. … At about 8 p.m. on the evening before the dedication day, after supper, Sri Maharshi asked Sri Kavyakanta whether the dedication would have to be postponed to some other Friday, as 300 verses were still to be composed to complete the thousand. But Sri Kavyakanta assured Bhagavan that he would complete the poem immediately.

The scene that followed can hardly be believed by one who did not actually witness it. Sri Maharshi sat silent and in deep meditation like the silent Lord Dakshinamurty. The eager disciples watched in tense admiration the sweet flow of divine music in Sanskrit verse as it came from the lips of the great and magnetic personality of Sri Kavyakanta. He stood there delivering the verses in an unbroken stream while disciples eagerly gathered the words and wrote them down. … The ‘Sahasram’ was finished in several meters. … For a while the disciples present enjoyed the deep ecstasy of the silence pervading the atmosphere, as Sri Kavyakanta concluded with the normal type of colophon. Then Sri Bhagavan opened His eyes and asked, ‘Nayana, has all that I said been taken down?’ From Sri Ganapati Muni came the ready and grateful response ‘Bhagavan, all that Bhagavan inspired in me has been taken down!’

Silence and Self-Inquiry (Atma Vichara)

Sri Ramana taught self-inquiry (atma vichara) as the most effective spiritual practice. For the spiritual practitioner both – atma vichara and silence – belong inseparably together. Atma vichara is the active spiritual practice, which leads – together with the influence of the guru, to this silence. Ideally both complement each other (practice and influence of the guru) – as is the case with devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Ramana has described the method of atma vichara in his booklet “Nan Yar?” (“Who am I?”). The I in the question relates to the original I-feeling of the human being. Ramana says, that this I is the first thought, on which all other thoughts and feelings are based.

But this I-feeling is no continuous entity, as there are also times, when it is absent, so for example in deep-sleep. Ramana explains, that the mind, i.e. this I-feeling arises from the Heart and submerges therein again. With the question “Who am i?” the mind turns to its own origin. But no answer, which the intellect might give can be accepted. Ramana assures us, that with continuous practice the ego will dissolve in the Self – though this is no more in the hands of the practitioner. One day the ego will be rooted out and just drop away. Ramana has repeatedly pointed out this path as the most effective among all.

Teaching in Silence is not bound to Time and Space

One might ask, if with the bodily death of the Maharshi his silent teaching of the Heart to Heart transmission as well came to an end. Does this kind of contact with Him continue or have we to go on search for another master?

Before his death Ramana said: “I am not going away, I am here!” Again and again he assured his devotees, that the body is not the guru and that it does not matter for the jnani, if he is in the body or not. So his bodily death did not end his spiritual guidance.

When in 1950 Sri Ramana died of cancer, his devotees scattered to the four winds. The Ashram was deserted, so that even in daylight thieves could break in and loot. Only slowly the truth of Ramana’s words dawned on the devotees. The power of the Silent Truth and transmission again brought the devotees together to Ramanashram.

This continues today. People are still drawn towards Ramana Maharshi and open themselves to his silent guidance and to self-inquiry as taught by him.

Sources

This article is the translation of: Ebert, Gabriele: Ramana Maharshi: Der Meister der schweigenden Belehrung, in: Wege der Stille, Hamburg 2008)

Iyer, T.K. Sundaresa: At the Feet of Bhagavan. – Tiruvannamalai, 1980

Mudaliar, A Devaraja: Day by Day with Bhagavan. – 3rd repint. – Tiruvannamalai, 1989

Ramana Maharshi: Collected Works. – 9th ed. – Tiruvannamalai, 2004

Ramana Maharshi: Words of Grace (Who am I?, Self-Enquiry, Spiritual Instruction) . – 3rd ed. – Tiruvannamalai, 1996

Ramana Smrti Souvenir: Ramana Maharshi Birth Centenary Offering 1980. – 1.ed. – Tiruvannamalai, 1980

Sadhu Arunachala (A.W. Chadwick): A Sadhus Raminiscences of Ramana Maharshi. – 4th ed. – Tiruvannamalai, 1994

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. – 9th ed. – Tiruvannamalai, 1994


Mudaliar: Day by Day, 9.3.1946

dto., 29.4.1946

Words of Grace, p. 4

Sadhu Arunachala: A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi, pp. 63f

Miracle of Dakshinamurit, in: Collected Works, p. 148

the „night of Siva“, high Siva-feast

Iyer: At the Feet of Bhagavan, pp. 29f

Sadhu Arunachala: A Sadhu’s Reminiscences, pp. 91f

Shantamma: Eternal Bhagavan in: Ramana Smrti, 1.ed., Ramanasram [p. 83]

from Talk 246

from Talk 68

Talk 231

Sadhu Arunachala: A Sadhu’s Reminiscences, p. 65

Silent Speech in: The Mountain path, 1995, p. 37

Recent Books by Gabriele Ebert are:

Ramana Maharshi: Sein Leben, Stuttgart, 2003

Sadhu Arunachala: Erinnerungen eines Sadhus, Berlin, 2004 (German transl.)

Both books are available at amazon.de and can be ordered from each German book-shop.

Gabriele Ebert is a well known  Ramana devotee. Gabriele is a German librarian, scholar, and a painter. Please go to the following link to see her beautiful article on icon paintings full of inspiring pictures.

https://luthar.com/icon-painting-as-a-spiritual-path-by-gabriele-ebert

Gabriele is a long term member of HarshaSatsangh (Harshasatsangh@yahoogroups.com) which is the largest Ramana Maharshi Internet Group on the web. Gabriele has been active in Sri Ramana groups for many years. She has served as an inspiration and a role model for all of us with her dedication to the interfaith approach to spirituality.

Icon Painting As A Spiritual Path: By Gabriele Ebert

Gabriele Ebert is a well known German librarian, scholar, and a painter. For information on her books and German translations, please go to the bottom of the article. Gabriele is a long term member of HarshaSatsangh and has been active in Sri Ramana groups for many years. She has served as an inspiration and a role model for all of us with her dedication to the interfaith approach to spirituality. Because Gabriele’s native tongue is German, I did some minor editing on this article and accept responsibility for any mistakes which may have occurred because of that. Fortunately, in this medium, mistakes can easily be corrected once we become aware of them. Enjoy the article. The Icons are stunning and beautiful! Thank you Gabriele for your generous sharing.

The Personal Story

Eleousa (Mother of Mercy)

It was 16 years ago that I discovered icon painting as a spiritual path. This door opened when at one Christmas eve my mother presented me with an icon of the Theothokos (Mother of God). Looking at it I was sure that I would start to paint as well. I felt drawn to painting and through it discovered a creative spiritual path.

Over the years I found different teachers for learning the technique – and later the Jesus prayer (see below).

Icons are enjoyed by many. Most of all it is wonderful if an icon can find its home in a meditation-room or prayer-edge, where it is dedicated to its original meaning.

This icon of St. John of the Cross has found its home in the prayer room of the Carmelite Monastery in Dolgellau, Wales.

Christ the Vine” is in the meditation-room the Christian Zen-center in Eintürnen, Germany.

Icons – What Are They?

“Sad Christ”

The home of the icons is the Christian Orthodox Church. The earliest icons were painted in the 6th century in Byzantium. From there they later came to Russia and to all other Orthodox countries. Most of the earliest icons have been lost. The oldest collection of icons is found at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai.

Icons play an important role in the liturgical service, and also in the public life and of course for the individual. An icon is a steady companion from the cradle to the grave.

The icons are not individual paintings but rather in the individual. These painting come through the individual by spiritual grace and in a sense the painter does not count. So icons are normally not signed to claim ownership. Outwardly, icons follow fixed patterns and change of the pattern is only possible in a rather limited way as they are real “copies” of the one reality, which represents itself in various pictures and stories.

Icons are of great help for concentration, for prayer, for awareness of the ever-presence of Christ or Mary or the Saints. They are called “Gates to Heaven” or “Windows to Eternity”. If you look at an icon in candle-light, the gold and painting shines in an unearthly magic. The faces are serene, the gestures and colors are full of meaning. The more one dives into this world, the more one becomes drawn into it and the mind becomes silent.

The Path of the Painter

“To paint and to pray are the same thing” (Balthus)

Jesus with animals

I have always felt that this kind of painting is by special grace and has something in it which can’t be compared with other types of paintings. This kind of painting is devotion and prayer – prayer with the brush, so to say. So this “doing” needs not only much outer care, but also inner care. One should not do it with a distracted or unclean mind. According to tradition it is good to have a prayer before starting. The inner attitude should be giving up the sense of doership – which reminds one of Sri Ramana’s instruction as well. It can also be seen as an exercise for just being an instrument of God, which should become a reality in all our actions.

The Jesus-prayer (also known as the Prayer of the Heart) is a short prayer, which should be continuously repeated. The words are: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!”

Like the icons, it comes from the Orthodox church. The prayer also can be shortened to just the call: “Jesus Christ!” or whatever one prefers. One repeats it as often as one can. In some way it can be compared with nama-japa. It helps to silence the mind and lead it to one thought. With practice it starts to become automatic (self-doing) and sinks into the heart. Yet at each stage it always stays as a prayer in you. The Philokalia – a collection of texts on the Jesus-prayer – can be a wonderful companion on this path. It is recommended in “The Way of a Pilgrim”, which most know who practice the Prayer of the Heart.

It is not so long ago that I discovered – or better re-discovered – the Jesus-prayer when reading this book (“The Way of a Pilgrim”). I felt immediately that this is a wonderful complement to the icon-painting as well. From the tradition of the icon-painters I have found out that my main-model, the famous Russian icon painter Andrej Rubljow must have practiced it. I am sure that his icons reflect it and speak through it.

Icons Interfaith

“Dakshinamurti-Ramana” – an icon dedicated to Sri Ramana Maharshi

Icon of Narada

Mostly I am painting icons in the Christian tradition. Yet it happened that this Ramana-icon was painted and also some icons of Narada (the bhakti-musician). When being in Tiruvannamalai in 2003 and seeing the paintings in one of the shines of the Arunachaleswara-temple I was reminded of the icon-painting. Also there seems to be a connection to the Buddhist paintings as well. I am sure that the same thing has found its expressions in many religions.

If you would like to see more and get information about the technical side of this kind of painting you can visit:

http://icons.interfaith.googlepages.com/

Gabriele

***********

Gabriele Ebert lives in Germany and works as a librarian.

Recent Books by Gabriele Ebert are:

Ramana Maharshi: Sein Leben, Stuttgart, 2003

Sadhu Arunachala: Erinnerungen eines Sadhus, Berlin, 2004 (German transl.)

Both books are available at amazon.de and can be ordered from each German book-shop.